San Fran To Brisbane - History

San Fran To Brisbane - History

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On June 9th, Charles Kingford Smith and Charles Ulm completed a 7,316 mile flight from the United States to Australia. The flight was made via Hawaii and Fiji. The pilots were accompanied by James Warner as a radio operator and Harry lyon as navigator. The flight began on May 31st in San Francisco. The first leg was a 27 hour flight to Honolulu, for there they continued on June 3rd for Jifi. After a flight of 34 hours they arrived in Suva, Fiji. The final flight took 21 hours. The journey took place in a Fokker F.VIIB

San Francisco’s Music History: Visiting The City’s Famous Music Sites

The Bay Area is rich in musical culture and history. If you’re traveling to Northern California with a group, a music-themed tour of San Francisco might be of interest to you – and probably one of the most unique things to do in San Fran! Whether you’re planning a trip for your family, sports team, class, church group, or friends, here’s everything you need to know to personalize a group music-themed tour of San Francisco.

Now that my sister and her husband are living out in San Fran, I can’t wait to get out there to visit and hopefully see some of these incredible music sites around the city. And I might have to check out some of the more quirky places to stay too!

1. Fort Point National Historic Site

The first one on the list is the Fort Point National Historic Site. This is one of my favorite military history tourist attractions San Francisco. The historic building on Fort Point was built in the late 1800s by the US Military. 

They needed the building in this spot to protect the area from unwanted visitors or anyone looking to attack the US from this point. The site was almost destroyed during the building of the Golden Gate Bridge, but engineers reworked the plans to build around it.

Today, the attraction is free to visit. It is also one of the best places to get some great shots of the Golden Gate Bridge. Click through for more pictures, history and visiting tips for this military history museum.

San Fran To Brisbane - History

The Brisbane Dump, in the shadow of San Bruno Mountain, San Francisco's waste disposal for over 30 years. The stench from garbage wafting up to San Bruno Mtn. helped save it from development, since no one wanted to live with that smell!

Photos: San Francisco History Center, SF Public Library

Ines Belli’s father and uncle, circa 1912.

Photo courtesy Ines Belli

Scavengers on the job, 1930s.

Photo: Private Collection

Photo: San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library

The story of San Francisco’s garbagemen, or scavengers, or as some like to say “sanitation engineers,” is a surprising and fascinating story. In the late 19th century and into the 20th, garbage collection ("scavenging") was controlled by Italians from the area known as Lorsica, near the city of Genoa. Until 1910, when more workers were needed, they were hired from that province in Italy, rather than from among other Italians in North Beach. (Also, newly arrived Italian immigrants had a hard time finding other kinds of work.) For the next quarter century the Lorsicani of San Francisco provided enough children to satisfy the need for new workers. They would pass through these San Francisco neighborhoods with horse-drawn wagons gathering refuse from the households along the way. Before WWII and the packaging and plastics revolution that followed, nearly everything had a potential use or was made of organic materials and could be decomposed.

One of the largest of the companies was the Scavengers Protective Association, which was founded by Andrea Sbaboro, one of the prominenti of the city. Another large company was started before WWI by Emilio Rattaro as the Sunset Scavenger Company with about 100 workers (there were about 400 garbage men in the city). After city legislation in 1920 specified districts and rates, Sunset was formally incorporated in 1921.

In 1932 there were a total of 97 districts served by 36 companies. Yet the Depression took a toll, and by 1935 there were only three districts. In 1939 the Sunset Scavengers bought Mission Scavengers, leaving only two districts: Sunset and the Scavengers Protective Association.

Leonard Stefanelli, president of Sunset Scavenger after a sudden revolt of shareholders against the long-time management, captured the schizophrenic quality of the scavenger companies decades later:

Sunset Scavenger had its corporate offices on Hampshire near 19th Street, but most of the Boss Scavengers lived further west, many on today’s Oakwood Street when it was a dead-end alley from 18th near Dolores. Boarding houses and stables crowded the cul-de-sac and every night the scavengers’ horses and carts would fill what they commonly referred to as “Dago Alley.” Stefanelli says his three uncles had places on the alley, along with many Sunset “Boss Scavengers” with names like Campi, Fontana, Chiosso, Borghello, Onarato, Moscone, Leonardini, Guaraglia, Scolari, Salvi, and Musante.

Oakwood Street, a.k.a. "Dago Alley" looking south towards 19th Street, June 12, 1915.

Photo: wnp36.00828

The two companies founded a third entity in 1935, the Sanitary Fill Company, which ran the dump on Tunnel Road, assuming responsibility from Southern Pacific railroad after 1952 for slowly filling in Brisbane Lagoon over the course of a half century. The techniques pioneered by Sanitary Fill Company—covering garbage with layers of fresh soil cut from the flanks of Bayview Hill—long before any regulatory laws were passed, helped cut down on blowing garbage and the raw stench long associated with dumps. (Ironically, it was the stench of the garbage here blowing south across the flanks of San Bruno Mountain that probably saved the mountain from rampant development in the mid-twentieth century.)

Bay Shore Railroad looking north from Sierra Point, March 31, 1905.

Photo: Private Collection

Twenty years later, this train coursing the shoreline around San Bruno Mountain at tip of Sierra Point (1926) is no longer on a trestle over water but part of the expanding landfill beneath San Bruno Mountain. Brisbane Lagoon hasn't yet been filled as a dump, and there isn't yet any Highway 101.

Photo: wnp36.03363 DPW Book 36, DPW 10210

When the original McAteer-Petris Act passed in 1965 to create the Bay Conservation and Development Commission, dumping garbage in the bay would soon be halted. But Sunset and the Sanitary Fill Company, recognizing that their existing dump was nearly full, had already identified some tidelands off the eastern edge of San Bruno Mountain at Sierra Point to use as their next sanitary landfill. Millions of dollars was spent to prepare the site and when Brisbane’s City Council tried to reverse their original support for the landfill, Sunset dramatically and publicly went ahead and moved their operations to the new site. Stefanelli was by then the President of Sunset Scavenger and, egged on by his attorney, was driving the truck that blew through a police barricade:

Repeated efforts by Brisbane citizens to block the bay dumping eventually failed. Sierra Point today is an office park east of Highway 101 at the southeast corner of San Bruno Mountain.

The next location for San Francisco’s garbage dump became the wetlands in Mountain View where a future park was promised (and eventually became home too to the Shoreline Amphitheatre) along with substantial fees from the garbage companies to the city coffers. Once that landfill was exhausted, San Francisco began sending its garbage to the Altamont Pass dump in eastern Alameda County, which it is still using at present.

Aerial view southward along the Highway 101 construction corridor in 1955, Brisbane Lagoon still being filled by San Francisco's garbage.

Photo: San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library

View north in 2020 across remains of Brisbane Lagoon, Bayview Hill in distance, Highway 101 on causeway between lagoon and bay.

By 1966, Scavenger’s Protective Association had changed its name to Golden Gate Disposal, and continued to see its business grow rapidly since their territory was largely the northeastern part of San Francisco encompassing the Financial District which was was increasingly vertical. In 1972 Sunset Scavenger merged its operations with Los Altos South Valley, Stockton Scavenger, Sanitary Fill Company, Joseph Petigera Company (our independent salvage/recycling entity), and others, and took the name Envirocal.

In the early 1970s, Golden Gate Disposal took its growing profits to buy out the original share structure that the companies had maintained since their founding a half century earlier and replace it with an Employee Stock Ownership Plan. Sunset Scavenger’s profits were shrinking due to being dependent on residential areas, in contrast to Golden Gate Disposal’s growing downtown business. In both companies, wages that had been identical for decades now began to vary depending on more typical considerations. Seeking to expand into the lucrative trash business throughout Northern California, Golden Gate Disposal changed its name to Norcal Solid Waste Systems in 1983. In 1986, Norcal was sold back to the original Employee Stock Ownership Plan, and a year later it absorbed the former Envirocal/Sunset Scavenger, becoming one company.

Soon after, Norcal Waste, certain that their clients would never recycle, and institutionally opposed to the “hippie” approach to solid waste, sought to build a massive incinerator just south of city limits in Brisbane. Supervisors of both San Francisco and San Mateo approved the plan, as did the city council of Brisbane, but Brisbane citizens revolted. A popular initiative was put on the ballot, and the NIMBYs of Brisbane defeated the planned incinerator (which would have spewed toxic exhaust over their town), foiling the plans of Norcal and PG&E (who would have generated electricity with the burned trash). Combined with the California statewide mandate to reduce waste due to overflowing landfills, the renamed Recology had to establish curbside recycling in San Francisco, now taken for granted by City residents.

  • Quotes from Garbage: The Saga of a Boss Scavenger in San Francisco by Leonard Dominic Stefanelli, University of Nevada Press: 2018

1953: Charles & John Guanaglia, father and son. Charles worked the same route for 28 years, now his son is taking over.

Photo: San Francisco History Center, SF Public Library

San Francisco Scavengers at work in the 1990s, before the introduction of the curbside recycling and plastic bin system.

San Francisco Cable Car Guide

Cable cars are a historic symbol recognized around the globe and offer real working transportation up the steep hills of San Francisco. The cable cars begin their runs at 6 a.m. and continue until midnight. You can download our printable cable car map, with all of the stops and top areas or a full San Francisco map. The (very popular) cable cars generally run about every 10 minutes.

From Union Square to the crest of Nob Hill, cable cars offer a thrilling way to move with the City. A ride on San Francisco’s cable cars may be the most iconic and memorable of your entire trip to California. Even people who might dismiss cable cars as a cheesy tourist attraction will admit that there is something incredibly romantic about these rides.

The current cable car fare (August 2017) is $7.00 and all fares are one way. There are discounted fares for seniors but only during non-peak hours. If you anticipate using the cable cars more than once in a day you should get a day pass which is $17.00. The all-day pass is also a good choice if you will be transferring from one line to another or if you will be transferring from a cable car to a MUNI bus (as no transfers are available for one-way fares).

Your one-way fare as well as your all-day passport can be purchased directly from the cable car operator on the car. The cable car operator can make change up to $20. Alternatively you can purchase your cable car tickets at the ticket booths that are located at the Powell/Market cable car turnaround, the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau (also at Powell and Market) and the Hyde and Beach cable car turnaround. Unlimited cable car and bus / trolley rides together with museum passes can be purchased at a discount.

Insider Tips for Riding the Cable Cars

In addition to the tips provided throughout this article, here are some other insider things that will help you to enjoy the best ride possible on a San Francisco cable car:

  • For the best views, you want to be on the side that faces the bay. That’s the eastern side of the Powell cars, meaning the right hand side for cars leaving from downtown and the left side for cars leaving from the Fisherman’s Wharf area.
  • When you exit the cable car, wait for it to pass rather than crossing in front of it. The drivers are always paying attention but this is a heavy vehicle that can’t swerve to miss you so stay aware!
  • Cable cars are sometimes late if it’s raining. It takes them longer to slow down when the tracks are wait. That’s just something to be aware of if you’re on a schedule.
  • Even on warm days it can get chilly on the cable car as it gets moving up and down those hills. Bring a windbreaker.
  • Put your belongings, such as bags and backpacks, on your lap or at your feet. They shouldn’t be hanging off of the car.
  • Hang on tight. And watch your children. This is a form of transportation, not a ride, and you should treat it with that respect and safety in mind.

The Three Cable Car Routes

There are three different cable car routes to choose from in the city. The two main lines, Powell/Hyde and Powell/Mason, start off at the busy intersection of Powell and Market and vaguely make their way towards the popular destination of San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf. These are the two lines that most visitors ride due both to their location and the fact that they climb some major steep hills and give those classic city views to the riders. The other San Francisco cable car route is the California/Van Ness line, which starts at California and Market and continues on until Van Ness.

Note: You can clearly see the exact routes for all of these cable car lines (and their relation to other major city attractions) on our free downloadable San Francisco city map.

Here is a look at some of the major highlights of each of the three lines:

  • Powell/Hyde. The Powell/Hyde line actually ends up close to Ghirardelli Square where you can shop or eat check out Ana Mandara, a Vietnamese restaurant that is owned by Don Johnson and Cheech Marin. Along the way you can exit the cable car at Lombard Street, famous for being “The world’s crookedest street.” If you aren’t going to Lombard Street then get your camera ready because at the top of this hill (Hyde and Lombard) you are treated to an unobstructed view of San Francisco’s Alcatraz Island. Across the street from the end of this line (at Hyde and Beach) is The Buena Vista Cafe, where legend has it that the Irish Coffee was born. If you don’t feel like shopping at Ghirardelli then you can visit the San Francisco Maritime Museum, the Hyde Street Pier, or just relax by the water and watch the boats go by.
  • Powell/Mason. The Powell / Mason line also passes close to Lombard Street but it is at the base of the crooked street so the view you get is of the curvy street, similar to the postcard pictures you may have seen of this attraction. The Powell/Mason cable car line drops you off in North Beach, a quick walk to San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf near Pier 39. If you’re hungry when you step off the cable car then head over to Kennedy’s Irish Pub and Curry House, a curious mixture of an Irish bar, a game arcade, and unbelievably delicious Indian food. Across the street from Kennedy’s is Bimbo’s 365 (at Columbus and Taylor), a music venue that is home to “Super Diamond,” a Neil Diamond cover-band. Alternatively you can walk down to the Wharf and get one of those famous San Francisco sourdough bread bowls.
  • California/ Van Ness. This cable car rides through the hills of the Financial District and hits the top of Nob Hill where you’ll find luxury hotels and nightclubs with some of the most stunning views of the city. Go up to the 19th Floor of the InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel to the Top of the Mark and sip a martini while listening to some cool jazz. At Mason and California is San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel, home to a great tiki-bar called The Tonga Room. Make sure to check out Grace Cathedral (at California and Taylor) if you like beautiful gothic architecture. Need a drink and want to play foosball? No problem, the Nob Hill Tavern is close by at California and Hyde Streets. You can also take in a movie at the Lumiere Theater (at Polk Street) or just walk around Polk and do some shopping. The cable car then makes its way down the hill to Van Ness Street where it stops and goes back the other direction. There is no turnaround for this line because the cable car has a grip at both ends of the car.

Fun Fact: The California Street cable cars are larger than the cars on the other lines. That’s because they are double-ended cars with an open section and a grip on either end while the other cars are single-ended cars.

The San Francisco transportation pass called The Clipper Card can also be used on MUNI whether you have a monthly pass or cash value on the card. Hand it to the cable car attendant and (s)he can scan it for you. Visitors can get a multi-day MUNI pass that includes cable car access (such as the MUNI and Cable Car 7 Day Passport).

How to Ride the Cable Cars

If you have never ridden a San Francisco cable car before then it can seem kind of confusing to navigate it at first. Don’t worry it’s actually pretty straightforward once you know what you are doing.

Most visitors will get on the cable car at the beginning or end of the line and ride it all the way to the other end to get the most bang for their buck. There is a cable car turnaround at the intersection of Powell and Market Street near Union Square. The cable cars must be turned around because they only have one grip end with which to grab the cable. It is kind of neat to see the cars turn around here if it’s something you’ve never seen before. Here you can get in line to get on both the Powell/Hyde and Powell/Mason lines. Note that everyone gets in the same line. Look at the sign on the top of the cable car to see which one is about to leave. If the next car isn’t yours and you are next in line, just step to the side and let the people behind you pass. You’ll then be first in line for your car. During busy times, there is likely to be a very long line at this stop. However, the cars run every ten minutes or so and each car holds up 65 people so the line often moves more quickly than you’d expect.

TIP: If you want to avoid the long line then you can walk north a few blocks and get the car at the next stop. The downside to this is that the car will be almost full and you will most likely have to hang on to the side of the car to ride the upside is that the wait is significantly shorter.

Although many people find it easiest to catch the cable car at the main turnaround, you are allowed to get on the car at any stop along the route. Simply wait at the stop, which is indicated by a brown and white sign that says MUNI Cable Car Stop and gives the line information. The car will stop for you and you can climb on. You do not need to wave it down.

You are allowed to sit in the outside seats or inside seats, stand in the inside section, stand on the back section or stand on the footstep area on either side of the car. In the latter case, you will need to hold on to the pole in front of you as you ride. If you are looking for the most adventurous ride then you’ll want to be in the front of the car, standing on the running board and hanging on to that pole. This is the best spot on San Francisco’s cable cars and sure beats being cooped up inside where you won’t see anything. Just make sure to scoot your boot when passing other cable cars and traffic you don’t want to turn yourself into road-pizza because your caboose got clipped by a delivery truck.

Tip: It’s a lot warmer in that inside section so if you’re not trying to stake out a great view and just want to enjoy the ride in comfort then choose those inside seats.

Wherever you catch your ride and wherever you choose to sit, you should get fully onto the cable car and find your seat immediately, allowing others to get on as well. The attendant will then come around to see your ticket or collect your fare. Make life easier for everyone by having your ticket or fare money out and ready when he comes around.

There are no buttons to push or bells to ring to let the driver know that you want to get off of the cable car. On busy days, the cable car will stop at all of the stops along the route and you can just get off when it stops. The same is true if you are riding the car all the way until the end of the line. However, if it is a slow day, you may want to let the driver or attendant know what stop you want. You can tell them when you get on the ride or as the stop approaches. They’ll stop for you and you can be on your way.

Note: You can get exact information on where stops are located and the timetables of operation through SFMTA.

Cable Cars: Transportation vs. Tourist Attraction

Many people assume that the cable cars are just a ride that the tourists go on. While it is definitely one of the city’s major attractions, it is also a viable form of transportation and one that people who live in the city sometimes do use (although usually only in the offseason when the cars aren’t so jam-packed!) This is important to know even as a visitor because there are a few rare instances in which the cable car is actually quicker and more convenient than the bus system. For example, during peak hours in low-tourism seasons it can be faster to take a cable car to Chinatown than to take a bus. (Note, however, that it’s also more expensive!)

San Francisco Cable Car History

The San Francisco Cable Car system is the last working system of its kind in the world. The cable cars move by gripping an underground cable that is in constant motion, powered by an engine located in a central powerhouse. The “grip man” on board the cable car is responsible for operating the grip and ringing the bell. The car also has a conductor or attendant who takes the fare and helps keep an eye on everything for the grip man.

The cable car system in San Francisco was built in 1873. Local legend has it that Andrew Hallidie was inspired to build the cable car system when he witnessed some wagon horses fall to their deaths due to the steepness of Jackson Street. By 1890 it had nearly two dozen lines operating to get people all around the city. This system served as a model for similar systems in cities around the world. However, the system was short lived because electric streetcars were developed towards the end of the nineteenth century and provided a more efficient and cost-effective system of getting around. The final nail in the original cable car system was the 1906 earthquake, which damaged so much of the city’s existing infrastructure.

By 1912 only three cable car lines remained (and those only because they could get up the steepest streets that the electric streetcars couldn’t navigate). By the 1920s there were also buses as alternatives to these lines. However, some people did want to keep the historic cable cars running and there was a lot of debate about how to do so. Changes have been made to the lines over time but today the three main lines do continue to run. Learn more on cable car history here!

Fun Fact: The cable cars are the only mobile National Monument in the world, and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Cable Car Special Events

If you’re lucky enough to be visiting during the month of July then you won’t want to miss the annual cable car bell ringing contests, which happen on either the second or third Thursday of the month. The contests are held in Union Square and draw thousands of spectators, both locals and visitors. Some of the grip men are extremely good at what they do and the applause that they receive can be thunderous with approval. Grab a hot dog and make a day of it the event draws celebrities and local dignitaries like the Mayor of San Francisco so you know you’ll be in for a wild time.

Do you have your own special event in the city? You can actually charter a cable car for your group. Learn more at SFMTA.

Cable Car Museums

If you want to learn more about San Francisco cable cars then check out The Cable Car Museum at the corner of Mason St. and Washington St. This is a free museum that is open every day of the year except for the major holidays. You can see some of the historic cable cars, learn all about the different eras of the San Francisco cable car and see photographs of the cars in action. The neatest part, though, is that this is actually the powerhouse of the cable car system and you can see the huge engines at work as they pull the massive cables that run the cars.

Another free museum is the SF Railway Museum, which is located close to the San Francisco Ferry Building. This museum has information about the cable cars as well as the historic F-line trolleys in San Francisco. Learn all about the history of varied rail transit in the city through the exhibits at this museum, which is open Tuesdays through Sundays.

A Rich & Notorious History

7 Mile House was built circa 1858—but not as a mile house. It was first constructed as a toll gate approximately seven miles from Portsmouth Square. It is proudly the Bay Area’s last ‘mile house’ left standing in its original location.

Mile Houses, established in the mid 19th century, served as old stagecoach and wheel exchange stops, hotels, and sundry shops, where horses rested and riders or drivers took a break from the arduous travel. Later, mile houses evolved into popular neighborhood watering holes. In the case of 7 Mile House, it's said it even became a brothel.

The 7 Mile House has stood as witness to some of San Francisco’s more colorful, albeit sometimes notorious, moments in history. In the late 1890s, an illegal poolroom operated from behind the pub—probably the first recorded incident of the many illegal gambling activities that happened in 7 Mile. These continued from the early 1910s to the early 2000s, with cards, claw machines, and sports betting as the gamblers' choice of play, depending on the era.

During Prohibition, when the neighborhood now called Brisbane was known for moonshining and bootlegging, 7 Mile House's proprietor was arrested for possession of a whiskey still and transporting alcohol in a Federal raid. As the railyard activities around the area declined, 7 Mile House became more and more isolated, and was known for its rough atmosphere with truckers frequenting the establishment. By the 1980s, the bar was known as the "Rykoff bar" and a teamster hangout due to its patronage of mostly S.E. Rykoff employees. It also became popular for its large, tasty burgers served up by an elderly lady named Doris.

Later, 7 Mile House made news with a raid by the FBI—it was believed that its old owner was top bagman in Northern California for Ron "The Cigar" Sacco, the most successful bookmaker in history.

It took years to shed this less-than-savory reputation. Today, 7 Mile House is the most popular dining and entertainment venue in Brisbane, boasting great food, drinks, sports via satellite and live entertainment every single night.

And no matter what decade or what curious activities occurred within its walls, all its guests—old and new—agree that 7 Mile House was and will always be a safe place a place where everyone feels at home.

Learn more about 7 Mile House's fascinating history in "See You at the Seven: Stories from the Bay Area's Last Original Mile House," by 7 Mile House owner Vanessa Garcia, co-authored and edited by Regina Abuyuan. Click here to purchase the book.

The 2020 San Francisco exodus is real, and historic, report shows

Real estate inventory change from February to July 2020, in metro area and city proper.

A new report confirms what many have been talking about for weeks: There is an exodus out of San Francisco, and the numbers are staggering.

Online real estate company Zillow released new statistics shining a stark light on the issue this week. Their "2020 Urban-Suburban Market Report" reveals that inventory has risen a whopping 96% year-on-year, as empty homes in the city flood the market like nowhere else in America.

The reason for this change is likely a combination of a few unprecedented factors that have collided this summer, resulting in a historic shift in the city.

The astronomical cost of owning a home in the San Francisco city limits &mdash which has been sky high for over a decade now, since the second tech boom &mdash had to break at some point, and the coronavirus seems to be the straw that broke the camel's back. The pandemic soon led to tech giants like Google, Facebook and Twitter rethinking what work looks like, as many have allowed employees to work remotely for the foreseeable future, and maybe forever.

This, combined with the fact that most entertainment venues, eateries and bars in the city have closed, has given many residents &mdash particularly tech employees and transplants &mdash little reason to stay, when more spacious, literally greener pastures beckon in (relatively) less costly regions in California such as Lake Tahoe or Palm Springs.

It should be noted that San Francisco had an unusually low inventory relative to other large cities prior to the pandemic. Historically, the ratio of homes for sale relative to total housing has been a quarter of New York's.

Regardless, the 96% year on year change in inventory marks a significant moment.

Zillow economist Josh Clark tells SFGATE that the remote work shift alone has not sparked the exodus.

"It may be tempting to credit the city of San Francisco&rsquos inventory boom to the advent of remote work that came with the pandemic, but one only has to look at to San Jose to question that narrative," Clark said. "The San Jose metro, which like the city of SF is dominated by tech workers, has not seen a similar rise. Two things that could drive the difference are San Francisco&rsquos density and its smaller share of family households."

San Fran To Brisbane - History

Lunn, John, History of Atherton, Atherton District Council, 1971. Atherton, Calif.

Norris, Barbara S.. Atherton recollections, edited by Barbara S. Norris [and] Sally L. Bush ill. by Dennis Nolan Atherton, Calif. : Published by the Town of Atherton, 1973.

Belmont, California As We Remember It, Belmont, CA: c1978.

Dewing, Ria Elena. Heritage of the Wooded Hills, A Belmont History, Belmont, CA: Belmont Chamber of Commerce, 1977.

Estep, Russel Adin. History of Belmont, California, Belmont CA: Belmont Chamber of Commerce, 1969.

Estep, Russel Adin. History of Belmont (series of newspaper columns), San Carlos, CA, San Carlos-Belmont Enquirer Bulletin, various issues 1981-1989.

Svanevik, Michael. Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, A History of Change, San Francisco, CA: Custom and Limited Editions, 1997.

Bits of History photographs by the Peninsula Library System

Ralston Hall (CA State Historical Landmark No.856) (National Register of Historic Places No.66000234)

Campus of Notre Dame de Namur University, 1500 Ralston Ave, Belmont, CA

Oral History Associates, Inc. A Spirit of Independence: A History of Brisbane Before Incorporation. Sausalito, CA: Oral History Associates, Inc., 1986.
(also available online)

Oral History Associates, Inc. Brisbane, City of Stars : The First Twenty-five Years, 1961-1986. Sausalito, CA: Oral History Associates, Inc., c1989.

City of Brisbane. Born of Fire : In Praise of Brisbane Volunteers. Brisbane CA: City of Brisbane, c1992.

Burlingame : Lively Memories, A Pictorial Review, Burlingame Historical Society, Burlingame, CA, 1977.

The Story of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Burlingame, California: Its History and Its People 1908 to the Present, St. Paul's, Burlingame, CA, 1997.

Evans, Beverley Louise, Burlingame: Evolution of a Suburban Landscape, 1976.

Hoag, Betty Lochrie, Southern Burlingame, by, Northern California Savings, 1973.

Hooper, Bill, History of Burlingame Fire Department, published by the author, 1940.

Johnstone, Parker, History of Burlingame Hills, Hillsborough Boutique, Burlingame, CA.,1972.

Lister, Constance, ed. by Geoffrey Currall, A History of Burlingame, The Burlingame Historical Society, 1978.

Postel, Mitchell, History of the Burlingame Country Club, Burlingame Country Club : San Mateo County Historical Association, Burlingame, CA, 1982.

Stanger, Frank M., Burlingame, California A Short Journey Into History, 1908-1958, Typo Press, 1958.

Svanevik, Michael, Burlingame: City of Trees, Boutique & Villager: Custom & Limited Editions, San Francisco, CA, 1997.

Memories of Burlingame by Burlingame Historical Society

Bits of History photographs by the Peninsula Library System

Burlingame Railroad Station, Burlingame Ave. and California Dr., Burlingame

Kohl Mansion (also known as Mercy High School), 2750 Adeline Dr., Burlingame

Jensen, Mattrup, Early history of colma, Daly City Public Library, l967.

Svanevik, Michael, City of souls : San Francisco's necropolis at Colma, San Francisco, CA : Custom & Limited Editions, 1995.

Svanevik, Michael, Pillars of the past : at rest at Cypress Lawn Memorial Park, Colma, Calif. : Cypress Lawn Heritage Foundation, 2002.

Bits of History photographs by the Peninsula Library System
Daly City

Chandler, Samuel C. Gateway to the Peninsula, Official History of Daly City, California, Daly City, CA

Verducci, Richard A. The City of Daly City, California, Daly City, CA

Gillespie, Bunny. The Great Daly City Historical Trivia Book,Daly City, CA: Gillsepie & Co., 1986.

Gillespie, Bunny. Images of America: Daly City. Arcadia Publishing, San Francisco, CA, 2003.

Mahoney, Marie M. Reflections on Mary's Help Hospital and Seton Medical Center, 1893-1985, Daly City, CA: The Center, 1985.

Diran, Edward. Cow Palace Great Moments, Cow Palace Tales, San Mateo, CA: Western Book/Journal Press, 1991.

Winn, Bernard C. From "The Top of the Hill", Growing up in the Daly City of the '20s and '30s, San Francisco, CA: Incline Press, 1999.

Kirchhubel, George. Daly City History, Daly City, CA: Daly City Public Library 1973.

Biographies of Daly City Pioneers, Daly City, CA: Daly City Public Library, [196-?].

Daly City - Colma History: Excerpts from Film and Newspaper and Excerpts from History of San Mateo County, Daly City, CA: Daly City Public Library [196-?].

John Daly's Ranch/San Mateo Dairy (1892 photo)

Historic Landmarks:
Broderick/Terry Dueling Place (CA State Historical Landmark No.19)
1100 Lake Merced Blvd, Daly City
East Palo Alto

Isaac D. Stevenson Jr., A Brief Look at East Palo Alto's History, January 1978.

Werner Foss Jr., History of Ravenswood, 1942.

Brewer Island today, Foster City tomorrow, Wilsey, Ham & Blair. Millbrae, Calif. : Wilsey, Ham & Blair, [1960?].
A New Town Comes of Age: Foster City, California, Foster City Chamber of Commerce, 1985.
Images of America: Foster City, Arcadia Publishing, 2005.

History of Foster City by Foster City
Half Moon Bay

Gualtieri, Kathryn, Half Moon Bay: The Birth of a Coastside Town, published by the Spanishtown Historical Society, Half Moon Bay, CA, 1988.

Hynding, Alan, From Frontier to Suburb, The Story of the San Mateo Peninsula, Star Publishing, Belmont, 1982.

Morrall, June, Half Moon Bay Memories: The Coastside's Colorful Past, published by Moon Beam Press, El Granada, CA, 1978.

Stanger, Frank M., South from San Francisco, The Life Story of San Mateo County, San Mateo Historical Association, 1963.

Coastside History by Half Moon Bay Chamber of Commerce

Bits of History photographs by the Peninsula Library System

Svanevik, Michael, No Sidewalks Here: A Pictorial History of Hillsborough, Concours d'Elegance, 1992.

Hillsborough Facts: Early History by Vinther Properties
Menlo Park

Cleese, John I. Tales of Old Menlo, Menlo Park, CA: Menlo Park Historical Association, 1994.

Hopkins, Martha B. A P/U* History of Menlo Park (*Partial and Un-official), Menlo Park, CA: Hopkins, 1975.

Kreuz, Charmayne. A Tradition of New Horizons: The Story of Menlo Park, Commemorating Its 1874 Incorporation, Menlo Park, CA: City of Menlo Park, 1974.

Pearce, Stanley. Lift Up Your Hearts: A History of Trinity Parish, Menlo Park, Menlo Park, CA: Trinity Parish, 1974.

Pierce, Cliff. The Webb Ranch: Pioneers to Pumpkins, Berries, Barns, & Bygones, Menlo Park, CA: Prodigy Press, 2000.

Prior, Leland Stanford. When Menlo Park Was Farm Country, Prior Brothers Ranch, 1868-1928, Menlo Park, CA: Menlo Park Historical Association, 1982.

San Mateo County Historical Association. City Of Menlo Park Historic Building Survey, Menlo Park, CA: The Association, 1990.

St. Patrick's Seminary. St. Patrick's Seminary Patrician, A History, 1898-1998, Menlo Park, CA: St. Patrick's Seminary, 1998.

Svanevik, Michael. Menlo Park, California, Beyond the Gate, San Francisco, CA: Custom & Limited Editions, 2000.

Barron-Latham-Hopkins Gate Lodge (National Register of Historic Places No.86001951)
555 Ravenswood Ave, Menlo Park, CA

Church of The Nativity (National Register of Historic Places No.80000855)
210 Oak Grove Ave., Menlo Park, CA

1769 Portolá Expedition Journey's End (CA State Historical Landmark No.2)
Intersection of East Creek Drive and Alma Street, Menlo Park, CA

Menlo Park Railroad Station (CA Historical Landmark No.955) (National Register of Historic Places No.74000556)
1100 Merrill Ave, Menlo Park, CA
Constructed in 1867, this is the oldest passenger railroad station in California.

Fredricks, Darold E., Millbrae : a place in the sun, San Bruno History Association, 1991.

Harris, Audrey E., History of Millbrae, Millbrae Historical Society, 197?.

History of the City by The City of Millbrae

Drake, Bill & Hunter, Chris. Images of America: Pacifica. Arcadia Publishing, San Francisco, CA. 2002.

Margolin, Malcolm, The Ohlone Way. Heydey Books, Berkeley, CA 1978.

Morrall, June. Half Moon Bay Memories, The Coastside's Colorful Past. Moonbeam Press, El Granada, CA 1978.

Transitions: Montara to Pescadero, An Oral History. Redwood City, CA: Canada College, 1977.

Dickerman-Steele Barn (National Register of Historic Places No.82002259)
Cabrillo Hwy., Pescadero, CA

The Isaac Steele Ranch (aka Green Oaks Ranch House) (National Register of Historic Places No.76000526)
13 mi. S of Pescadero on CA 1, Pescadero, CA

First Congregational Church of Pesdadero (CA State Historical Landmark No.949) (National Register of Historic Places No.80000856)
San Gregorio Street, Pesacadero, CA
(Built May 1867, the oldest church building on it's original site in San Mateo County)

Methodist Episcopal Church of Pescadero (aka Native Sons & Daughters of the Golden West Parlors) (National Register of Historic Places No.82002260)
108 San Gregorio St., Pescadero, CA

Pigeon Point Lighthouse (National Register of Historic Places No.77000337)
South of Pescadero at Pigeon Point off CA 1, Pescadero, CA

St. Anthony's Church (National Register of Historic Places No.82004983)
North Street, Pescadero, CA
Portola Valley

Lund, Nancy and Pamela Gullard. Life on the San Andreas Fault, A History of Portola Valley. Scotwall Associates, 2003.

Casa de Tableta (aka Buelna's Roadhouse) (CA State Historical Landmark No.825) (National Register of Historic Places No.73000447)
3915 Alpine Rd at Arastradero Rd, Portola Valley, CA
1850's structure built by Felix Buelna, served as a gambling retreat and meeting place for Mexican-Californios

Our Lady of the Wayside Roman Catholic Church (CA State Historical Landmark No.909) (National Register of Historic Places No.77000338)
930 Portola Rd, Portola Valley, CA

Portola Valley School (aka Primary School) (National Register of Historic Places No.74000557)
775 Portola Rd., Portola Valley, CA
Redwood City

Davey Properties. The History of Redwood City. Redwood City, CA: 1988.

Edmonds, John G. Union Cemetery, Redwood City, California, The People, Their Lives, Their Communities Including the Towns of Searsville, Summit Springs and West Union. Redwood City, CA: Historic Union Cemetery Association, 2000.

Hext, Kathleen. History of the Redwood City Public Library, 1939-1970.

James, Betty LouAnn. History of the Redwood City Public Library, Redwood City, California, 1865-1939 : A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of the Department of Librarianship, San Jose State College. 1971

Robinson, Merrily. History of Redwood City (unpublished typescript). Redwood City, CA: 1976.

History of the First Congregational Church (oldest Protestant Church in San Mateo County)

Bits of History photographs by the Peninsula Library System

Lathrop House (National Register of Historic Places No.73000448)
627 Hamilton St., Redwood City, CA

New Sequoia Theater Building (aka Fox Theater) (National Register of Historic Places No.94000431)
2211--2235 Broadway St., Redwood City, CA

Redwood City Historic Commercial Buildings (National Register of Historic Places No.77000339)
Broadway and Main Sts., Redwood City, CA

San Mateo County Courthouse (National Register of Historic Places No.77000340)
Broadway Street, Redwood City, CA
San Bruno

Fredricks, Darold E. San Bruno People and Places, San Bruno, CA: San Bruno History Association, 1989.

Fredricks, Darold E. Images of America: San Bruno, San Francisco, CA: Arcadia Publishing, 2003.

National Asian American Telecommunications Association. Tanforan: Race Rrack to Assembly Center. San Francisco, CA: CrossCurrent Media 1995. (VHS videotape)

Shoecraft, Don. The History of San Bruno, San Bruno, CA: 75th Anniversary Committee, City of San Bruno, 1989.

Bits of History photographs by the Peninsula Library System

San Francisco Bay Discovery Site (National Register of Historic Places No.68000022)
4 mi. W of San Bruno via Skyline Dr. and Sneath Lane, San Bruno, CA

Temporary Detention Camps for Japanes Americans, Tanforan Assembly Center (CA State Historical Landmark No.934)
Tanforan Park Shopping Center, El Camino Real @ Sneath Lane, San Bruno, CA
San Carlos

Bartron, Wally. San Carlos Editorial Cartoons, San Carlos, CA: Museum of San Carlos History, 2003.

Drake, Fred Hugh. The History Of San Carlos, California, From Portola to First American, San Carlos, CA: date unk.

Garvey, Linda Wickert. San Carlos Stories, An Oral History for the City of Good Living, San Carlos, CA: The City of San Carlos, 2000.

Mahany, Effie C. Through the Years In San Carlos, San Carlos, CA: San Carlos Villagers, c1967.

San Carlos Villagers. A Short Walk Through San Carlos History, San Carlos, CA: c1982.

San Mateo County Historical Association. San Carlos Historical Walk, San Carlos, CA: San Carlos Healthy City Project, c1994.

Brittan, Nathanial, Party House (National Register of Historic Places No.94001500)
125 Dale Ave., San Carlos, CA

Southern Pacific Depot (National Register of Historic Places No.84001191)
559 El Camino Real, San Carlos, CA
San Mateo

Burke, Winifred M. San Mateo [City] Elementary Schools : A Hundred Year History, 1854-1957. San Mateo, CA : San Mateo City School District, 1958.

Cintel, Jeff. Downtown City of San Mateo Historical Tour. April 1991.

Postel, Mitchell P. San Mateo, A Centennial History. San Francisco, CA : Scottwall Associates, 1994.

Bits of History photographs by the Peninsula Library System

Anza Expedition Camp (CA State Historical Landmark No.47)
Arroyo Court near West 3rd Avenue, San Mateo, CA

Ernest Coxhead House (aka The Scholar's Cottage) (National Register of Historic Places No.00000322)
37 E. Santa Inez Ave., San Mateo, CA

Eugene J. De Sabla Jr. Teahouse and Tea Garden (National Register of Historic Places No.92000965)
70 De Sabla Ave., San Mateo, CA

The Hospice (Mission Dolores Outpost, built ca. 1800)) (CA Historical Landmark No.393)
Southwest corner of Baywood and El Camino Real, San Mateo, CA

Hotel St. Matthew (aka Wisnom Hotel) (National Register of Historic Places No.97001663)
215-229 Second Ave., San Mateo, CA

National Bank of San Mateo (aka Crocker-Anglo Bank) (National Register of Historic Places No.97000331)
164 South B St., San Mateo, CA

A.P. Giannini House (aka Seven Oaks) (National Register of Historic Places No.99001181)
20 El Cerrito Dr., San Mateo, CA

Regnery, Dorothy F., The History of Jasper Ridge, from Searsville Pioneers to Stanford Scientists, edited by Deane Haskin. Stanford Historical Society, Stanford. 1991.

Edmonds, John G., Union Cemetery, Redwood City, California: The People, Their Lives, Their Communities: Including the Towns of Searsville, Summit Springs and West Union, Historic Union Cemetery Association, 2000.
South San Francisco

All Souls Church, South San Francisco, CA: Custombooks, 1973.

Historical Society of South San Francisco, Inc. Historical Landmarks of South San Francisco, South San Francisco, CA: Historical Society, 1985.

Kauffman, Linda and Debbie Patrick. South San Francisco, A History, South San Francisco, CA: South San Francisco Bicentennial Committee, c1976.

South San Francisco Historical Society. Images of America: South San Francisco. Arcadia Publishing, San Francisco, CA, 2004.

Bits of History photographs by the Peninsula Library System

Martin Building (aka Metropolitan Hotel) (National Register of Historic Places No.97000043)
220 Grand Ave., South San Francisco, CA 94080

South San Francisco Hillside Sign (National Register of Historic Places No.96000761)
Sign Hill Park, N of Park Way, South San Francisco, CA

Kaphan, Marilyn M. A History of the Woodside Library, San Jose, CA: 1972

Filoli Estate & Gardens (CA State Historical Landmark No.907) (National Register of Historic Places No.75000479)

Site of the former Village of Searsville (CA State Historical Landmark No.474)
Northwest corner intersection of Sandhill Road and Portola Road, Woodside, CA

Independence Hall (aka Scout Hall) (National Register of Historic Places No.78000772)
129 Albion Ave., Woodside, CA

Mortimer Fleischhacker Estate (aka Green Gables) (National Register of Historic Places No.86002396)
329 Albin Ave., Woodside, CA

Site of San Mateo County's First Sawmill (CA State Historical Landmark No.478)
Woodside Road @ Portola Road, Woodside, CA

The Woodside Store (aka Tripp Store) (CA State Historical Landmark No.93) (National Register of Historic Places No.85001563)
471 Kings Mountain Road, Woodside, CA

Return to San Mateo County History
Return to San Mateo County Genealogy
© Copyright 2003-2007 Ron Filion and Pamela Storm. All rights reserved.

San Francisco's bizarre history of (literally) moving houses

A Victorian home being moved on Steiner Street via horse power, 1908, San Francisco.

Mark Twain didn't actually complain about the weather in San Francisco (the person who coined, "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco" has never claimed the quote), but he did have another gripe with the city.

"An old house got loose from her moorings last night and drifted down Sutter Street towards Montgomery," the famed humorist wrote in the Daily Morning Call in 1886. "For several days the vagrant two-story frame house has been wondering listlessly about Commercial Street, above this office, and she has finally stopped in the middle of the thoroughfare, and is staring dejectedly toward Montgomery street, as if she would like to go down there, but really do not feel equal to the exertion."

Beyond Twain's wonderful personification of a sad, lost home in the middle of San Francisco, the scene he depicts of a house sliding through the city streets may seem like a bizarre spectacle &mdash but it used to be a common sight.

How are those poor horses moving a mansion?

Why even move a house, and not build a new one?

Seriously, are those horses OK?

Many of the answers can be found within Diane C. Donovan's fascinating book "San Francisco Relocated."

It turns out that the photo was taken in 1908 in Pacific Heights. The house with the overhanging windows on the far left is still standing today, though it's had a lick of white paint, at 2402 Steiner across from Alta Plaza Park.

While we don't know where that particular traveling house ended up, Donovan reveals in her book that relocating mansions is a little-known part of San Francisco history. Due to the young city's constant revising of sidewalks, streets and grid lines &mdash and the fact that unlike East Coast brick homes, San Francisco's redwood houses were relatively light &mdash giant structures could often be seen moving around the streets.

So much so that they became a public nuisance, and not only to Mark Twain.

"The business of buying those old shells, moving them . and selling them for long credit has become a regular trade," the Alta California wrote in 1868, "which is followed by a number of persons with profit to themselves, but loss to the general public."

The activity was not much fun for the horses either. The method in which they were used to move the giant homes was pretty clever, though, and went something like this:

The house would be jacked up and placed on greased beams. As the home inched along, workers would pick up the planks and ties that were left behind and rebuild the track in front of the house. A capstan, or drum, was placed in the middle of the street and connected via a pulley to a huge cross beam on the structure. The two horses would circle the drum, winding the pulley, slowly pulling the home down the street.

The method can be seen pretty clearly in this photo of a home in upstate New York being moved in 1893:

House moving, New York State, 1893.

Even when gas-powered trucks were available, horses were still used because they were able to step over the large cables as they circled, something that would halt a truck at the time.

The moving of houses and even churches and schools was briefly a big industry in San Francisco. The 1900 edition of the city's business directory lists no fewer than 19 companies offering their services to move your home to a new address.

This early attempt at viral marketing from Herbert L. Hatch, on a postcard titled "Moving Day in San Francisco," shows a cable car running under a giant home on the move on Washington Street. (The building to the right is now Danielle Steel's Spreckles Mansion.)

Buried ships in San Francisco

The Buried Ships of Yerba Buena Cove by Michael Warner et al., 2017 (high res version)

(San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, National Park Service)

    (June 2, 2017 National Geographic article about the Park's new map shown above) (article about one of the buried ships) (Collections Corner article)
"The Buried Ships of Yerba Buena Cove, San Francisco, California" by Michael Warner et al., July 2017--the high resolution version of the map is provided above, and a low-resolution version of the map is also available.

(San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, National Park Service)

"Gold Rush Vessels Beached, Scuttled, and Broken Up" from Notes on the Gold Rush Ships, by Albert Harmon, Harlan Soeten and Karl Kortum. A larger version of this image is available.

Watch the video: United 787. San Francisco to Sydney SFO - SYD. Economy. Welcome Aboard